12/31/2014 2:49PM

NYRA establishes workout rules


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Following the ontrack death last Saturday of Wicked Irish – a horse who had not raced in two years and who showed one workout in the interim – the New York Racing Association on Wednesday announced new workout criteria for horses who race at its three racetracks.

A horse coming off a layoff of 90 days or more and racing at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga must have three published works, including one of at least a half-mile, and must have two works within 30 days of the start.

Horses which have not raced in 60 days will require two works, including one of at least a half-mile, and one work within 30 days of the start. Horses who have not raced in 30 days will require one work of at least three-eighths of a mile.

First-time starters, including 2-year-olds, must have three works – one of at least a half-mile in the last 45 days – and must be gate approved.

The workout requirement will be waived for foreign horses entering a stakes race within seven days of clearing USDA quarantine, provided that their native racing jurisdiction has no provision for timed workouts.

Horsemen seeking to run a horse not meeting the workout requirements must obtain permission from the stewards.

The new criteria go into effect beginning with the races of Jan. 28. The reason for the delay is that the condition books for races through Jan. 25 have been published, according to Dan Eidson, NYRA’s racing secretary.

“It’s a significant rule change and we want to give people plenty of time to assimilate it,” Eidson said.

On Saturday, Wicked Irish became the eighth racing-related fatality since Aqueduct’s inner track opened on Dec. 3. The 5-year-old ridgling had not raced since Dec. 17, 2012, and had one workout, a half-mile in 50.60 seconds on Dec. 21, prior to Saturday’s race. He ran a quarter of a mile before breaking down.